Bison women’s soccer represented on international stage

Elise Covert, Co-Sports Editor

Bison women’s soccer players Gabi Rosenfeld ’18 and Dani Kaufman ’20 traveled to Israel over the summer to compete on the United States Open Women’s Soccer Team in the Maccabiah Games.

The Maccabiah Games unite Jewish athletes from around the globe to compete in a multitude of sporting events. Both Rosenfeld and Kaufman were chosen by the Maccabi USA organization to represent the red, white, and blue on a national soccer team.

While the women’s team featured a handful of professional players on the roster, most were collegiate athletes. However, Rosenfeld and Kaufman were the only two women on the team who currently play at the same university.

Although the United States performed admirably throughout the Games, the team lost in the finals round to the Israeli national team on July 16 by a score of 2-1. Though both Rosenfeld and Kaufman were hoping to bring home gold for their country, they said that the purpose of the Maccabiah Games lies less in the athletic competition and more in the camaraderie among players, personal growth, and cultural learning.

The opening and closing ceremonies were among the most memorable moments of the event, Kaufman said. She reveled in meeting all the other athletes, many of whom were also from the United States. Kaufman added that she felt “overwhelming comfortable” in being surrounded by thousands of others who shared her Jewish heritage, a circumstance she does not often find herself in when at home.

The American team stayed at the same hotel as the other international soccer teams, making it simple for the players to form meaningful connections with others that were rooted in their mutual love of playing soccer.

Rosenfeld, who competed in a younger division at the 2013 Games, commented on how much more independent she felt this summer as a result of this experience. One of her favorite moments was visiting the Western Wall on Shabbat, a trip which she called “humbling.”

“It makes you realize how many people share the same culture as you,” Rosenfeld said.

While Rosenfeld noted how enjoyable it was for them to be given an opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture, Kaufman expressed the pride she felt in representing her own.

“Another thing I loved about playing there was hearing other languages when you play,” Rosenfeld said. “It reminded me of what I was representing, which was a really crazy feeling.”

“I loved standing arm in arm with my teammates, representing the United States and representing my religion and my culture. We’re all on the same team, in a sense,” Kaufman said.

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